Several years ago, I made a special lasagne. I’d just discovered lasagne made with béchemel sauce rather than pounds of gooey cheese. Mushrooms were on sale so I was inspired to create a memorable meal. Over the years, we’ve said to each other, “Remember that mushroom lasagne!” and smile fondly. But the recipe was misplaced…
This is not that recipe, but it is deliciously extravagant with mushroom delight. The way the noodles are layered is elegant: They are laid one over the other with filling and sauce between. To serve, just cut across the pan so you can lift out neat servings, each with curly noodle edges.
Rich Mushroom Lasagna
lasagne with béchemel sauce
adapated from Cooks Illustrated
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed well
- 1 cup water
- ½ pound oyster mushrooms, cleaned, and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
- 12 ounces king trumpet mushrooms, cleaned, and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 10 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed (they are tough), and sliced ¼-inch thick (about 4 cups)
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, and sliced ¼-inch thick (about 4 cups)
- ½ pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, and finely chopped, reserved
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan
half for the mushrooms, half for the béchamel sauce
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon)
- 5 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 2 Tablspoons minced fresh rosemary
- 8 ounces fontina cheese , rind removed and shredded (about 2 ¼ cups)
- 1 ½ ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about ¾ cup)
- 12 lasagna noodles
- grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
Cover porcinis with hot water in measuring cup. Soak for one hour. Lift mushrooms from liquid with fork and roughly chop (you should have about 3 Tablespoons). Set mushrooms and liquid aside.
Cook the mushrooms separately in butter. Add salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and most of liquid has evaporated. Transfer mushrooms to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Toss them together to mix well.
Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering Add onions and salt and pepper Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned around edges. Transfer onions to the bowl of mushrooms. Toss to mix well.
Coarsely chop the reserved cremini mushrooms in food processor. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the chopped cremini and stir until all moisture has evaporated.
Reduce heat to medium and add the porcini mushrooms, the garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook until garlic is fragrant.
Melt 4 Tablespoons butter. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly. Slowly add reserved porcini soaking liquid, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add milk. Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until sauce has thickened and reached consistency of heavy cream. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley and rosemary. There should be about 4 cups.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400°F.
Combine Fontina and Parmesan in medium bowl.
Cook noodles very al denté. Rinse in cold water, and dry on paper towels. Grease a baking dish with butter.
Using rubber spatula, evenly distribute a quarter of the mushroom sauce in bottom of baking dish; position 3 noodles on top of sauce. Spread one quarter of the mushroom-onion mixture and one quarter of the cheese; sauce, noodles, mushrooms, cheese… Repeat layers, placing each of the 3 noodles directly over the ones below: don’t overlap them, don’t lay them crosswise. Cover lasagna with foil. Place in oven and turn heat down to 375°F. Bake until bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Cool the lasagne for 15 minutes, then cut crosswise to serve.
Notes: the mushroom flavor of the sauce is greatly enhanced by the porcini, its soaking water, and the chopped baby bellas (cremini).
The king trumpets would have been better sliced very thinly: they are quite chewy compared to the other mushrooms.